The NYU Clinical Translational Science Institute (CTSI) has awarded the NYU College of Dentistry a one-year pilot grant to translate an English-language caregiver support program into Korean and to culturally adapt the program for families of Korean-American cancer survivors ages 55 and over. CTSI, a partnership between NYU’s Langone Medical Center and the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, is funded by a grant from the National Center for Research Resources at the National Institutes of Health.

The study is being led by Victoria H. Raveis, a medical sociologist, research professor of cariology and comprehensive care, and director of the College of Dentistry’s Psychosocial Research Unit on Health, Aging, and the Community.

Raveis created the original English-language version of the program with funding from a five-year, $3.3 million grant awarded to her in 2005 by the National Cancer Institute. She is now partnering with Linda Lee, executive director of the Korean Community Service Center of Metropolitan New York, to translate the program into Korean, incorporate Korean core values and attitudes, and recruit 20 family caregivers to test the program. Most of the family caregivers will be adult children and spouses of cancer survivors residing in the Korean community in Queens, New York.

The program aims to provide adult family caregivers with information and training to address issues that families commonly encounter in the post-treatment period when patients are no longer being closely monitored by a health-care provider.

“This study will provide valuable insight about the cancer survivorship experience in older Korean-Americans, a traditionally underserved group,” explains Raveis.

Over the course of six group sessions, caregivers will learn how to apply a problem-solving approach to deal with a range of caregiving issues, from balancing competing family and work demands with their caregiving to modifying traditional Korean holiday meals to accommodate diet restrictions.

The program also helps caregivers overcome concerns about communicating with health-care professionals by providing guidance on how to ask providers about common issues of concern, such as how to help patients manage pain and fatigue.

At the close of the study, Raveis will interview subjects about their experiences and make needed adjustments to the program’s design. She plans to conduct a subsequent study involving a larger number of Korean-American caregivers from a broader geographical area.

Co-investigators on the study are Duy Nguyen, assistant professor of social work at the
NYU Silver School of Social Work, and Simona Kwon, a research scientist at the Center for the Study of Asian-American Health and director of the National Center of Excellence in the Elimination of Hepatitis B Disparities, both housed at the NYU School of Medicine.

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